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The Best Nutritional Path To A Healthy Dog – Dr. Evan Antin

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Purina and Dr. Evan Antin. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was so excited to have recently participated in a Google Hangout with Dr. Evan Antin and a whole panel of bloggers.  Dr. Evan Antin is a veterinarian in Los Angeles, CA at the Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital.  You however, may have heard of him as the world’s hottest vet!  The topic of the Google Hangout panel discussion was pet food and appropriate nutrition for our favorite family members!  Naturally I was able to put everything we learned into effect immediately for Miss Xena Lee…

Actually prior to this discussion, Xena was suffering with some stomach upset so for us the discussion could not have been more timely.

Tip #1: Understand the importance of a healthy and balanced diet.

Finding the best diet for your dog can be overwhelming.  There are so many options available everywhere you go – which is best?  What does quality nutrition look like?  When I was a teenager I had a miniature schnauzer and literally fed him everything I ate.  But as an adult I know that isn’t the best for our pets nutritionally and in some cases, it can be toxic.  Pets aren’t humans, and so there’s a lot more that goes from choosing pet food from individual pet needs to finding quality food with the right ingredients. Speak to your veterinarian to determine the best nutritional approach for your pet.
Tip #2: Do your research on ingredients.

The most important aspect of pet food is whether it provides complete and balanced nutrition for pets. Pet owners should have a good understanding of the ingredients used in their pets’ food – such as grains and by-products – and the benefits they bring. For example:

  • Grains: Dogs aren’t wolves, they’re omnivores. This means they’ll need a vegetable-based or a lower-protein diet as part of a complete and balanced diet. Research has shown that grains deliver more complete nutrition than the ingredients typically used to substitute for grains.
  • By-products: Many pet food manufacturers use high-quality by-products – such as beef, chicken, or pork that may include hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, and spleens. Cats and dogs in the wild typically eat these organs first because they are highly palatable and nutrient-dense.
  • Raw: Some people believe pets should eat a raw food diet because it’s allegedly more like what they would eat in the wild. However, raw pet food may not provide all the nutrients pets need and can contain dangerous bacteria when food safety regulations aren’t met.
  • Natural and organic: Although pet foods labeled as natural, organic, and/or holistic are increasingly popular, the use of these terms can be misleading or confusing. Natural and organic foods are not necessarily healthier than conventional foods.

Tip #3: Check the quality and safety of pet food.

Do you know where to look for information regarding the safety of your pet’s food? For us, we rely on the who, what, where questions.  Who makes it – are they a reputable company?  What ingredients are in it?  And where is it made?  The agencies that oversee the nutritional requirements are the FDA and AAFCO – rely on these standards. You should be able to find this information on the pet food manufacturer’s website or by speaking to your veterinarian.

Tip #4: Avoid giving out table scraps.

This can be a tough one for some people, while other people feed a lot of their table scraps to their pets.  But if you don’t know what you are doing you could be feeding your pet food that is toxic to them.  For example my pet-owning teenage years…. But I know so much more now!  The food we have for the holidays can contain a lot of oils and fats that can lead to health problems in our pets such as diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis.  If you do decide to feed people food please make sure you stay away from foods that are toxic to dogs such as onions, garlic, raisins, grapes and so many more.  There are foods they definitely should not eat, those they may eat in moderation, those they should be careful around, and those they can eat pretty freely.

Now there are so many other considerations and to learn more about proper pet nutrition feel free to check out Purina’s Nutrition Tips!

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